Next under fire over 'excessive' leadership pay
As costs and inflation rise and the prospect of recession looms large, retail bosses are being targeted for ‘excessive’ pay and bonuses, with fashion retail giant Next among them.
Next chief Simon Wolfson is under fire for taking home almost £4.4 million last year, up 50% on the year before, including an annual bonus worth 100% of his basic salary. That comes as the retailer benefited from Covid furlough pay for workers and business rates relief.
So the Institutional Voting Information Service (IVIS) has given the retailer a ‘red top’ rating, which urges shareholders to vote against chief executive’s pay, reported The Guardian.
“Shareholders will need to be satisfied that the payment of bonuses was appropriate in a year when the company again participated in the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and there is no clear indication whether the company has or intends to repay the support received from the government,” IVIS said of Next, according to report seen by the newspaper.
However, Next is understood to have repaid £29 million of business rates relief and has repaid any further support taken when its stores reopened.
The group’s remuneration committee added that executive pay was “proportionate and aligned to business performance”.
The retail giant has performed well post-pandemic and its latest trading update issued last week showed trading in the 13 weeks to April 30 saw full-price sales rising 21.3% on the year, in line with its forecasts.
Next said it’s also maintaining its guidance for full-year pre-tax profit of £850 million, which would be up 3.3% versus last year.
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